Jon Humphries is a skater and photographer from the Northwestern United States who has shot some of the best skate photos ever.
Jon has the innate ability to disappear with his camera whilst hanging with some of the most interesting characters in skateboarding.
His work has showcased some of the most candid and compelling skate moments to date.
Now that Jon is a member of The No Comply Network we talked about shooting photos with Eric Koston, The Gonz, Ed Templeton and Lance Mountain, cycling with John Rattray, why he loves Burnside and black and white photography, working for Nike and Adidas and his favourite things on and off a board of all-time.
What’s your full name?
Where did you grow up and where do you live nowadays?
I was born in Portland, Oregon and I grew up in Vancouver, Washington.
I now live back across the river in Portland, Oregon.
What year did you start skating?
I started skateboarding in 1986 at the age of 12.
I had a group of local friends that ripped!
We have always had a great skateboard community here in Portland.
Where do you skate?
I mostly just skateboard around Portland with my son Arro.
When did you start shooting?
I first got into photography as a junior in high school.
When did you realise you could turn photography into a career?
In 1995 I had my first real multi-page article in Transworld Skateboarding.
I got a pretty decent size check for that article.
I thought, man, I can make a living at this!
After that I never let up, I tried to shoot photos everyday for years.
What’s your favourite skate photo?
All the Burnside photos I shot early in my career are still my all-time favorites.
Just the the timing of Burnside in the beginning, the light, the characters, the grit, everything about it, that time in skateboard photography was golden. Skateboarding was starting to explode again, it was exciting.
Favourite portrait you’ve taken?
One of my favorite portraits is of Duane Peters.
He just has a timeless look. I shot it 4×5 and I love that format.
Your Black and White photos are some of the best.What do you love about black and white?
To me, black and white printing is as about as close as you get to painting.
I was never a good artist with a pencil or brush, so the minute I saw my first photo come up in the darkroom, I was in love with black and white.
There is something about printing black and white film that can never be duplicated.
Advice for new photographers?
Try to separate yourself from other photographer’s styles.
Find your niche and stick with it.
Favourite career moment?
Anything and everything I’ve done with Lance Mountain has always stood out as some of the best times in my life.
Specifically when he built the ramps inside of his house.
Lance was getting ready to sell his house and he built ramps throughout his house.
I flew to LA to shoot it, it was amazing.
I have never laughed so hard in my life.
Your photo of Heath on his bike is sick. How’d that go down?
Heath Kirchart is one of my favorite skaters.
The Skateboard Mag asked me to shoot portraits of Heath for an interview he had.
Heath and I love motorcycles, so it was an obvious choice to shoot some on his bike. Steve Berra was driving the car and I was hanging out the back of his Toyota Four Runner shooting photos of Heath.
What’s it like shooting Eric Koston?
Eric Koston is the best, one of the most professional dudes you’ll ever meet.
Love shooting with him, and just hanging with him in general.
I like all the photos I’ve shot of Eric.
What’s your favourite thing about working with Ed Templeton?
Best thing about shooting with Ed is he is a really great photographer.
So he really understands what it takes to make a great photo.